Out of Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Josie Moraine has tried her hardest to make a life for herself, one that doesn’t keep her in the shadow of her brother prostitute mother. She studied hard at school, read every book she could get her hands on, works hard at her two jobs.
But for the people of the French Quarter, it just isn’t enough. She’s still her mother’s daughter, no matter how hard she tries.
Enter Charlotte, a new friend who has exactly what Josie wants: a way out. Charlotte attends Smith College. And when she tells Josie that she too could apply and attend, Josie jumps on the idea. Exciting by the possibility of getting out, Josie plans.
But what she doesn’t plan on getting trapped, not just in the French Quarter, but in the middle of a murder mystery. No one really suspects Josie, even though she’s found evidence proving that this man didn’t die of natural causes, but rather was mudered. Josie sets out to find the truth, but what she finds is murder, meyhem, and worst of all … her mother.
Will Josie find the truth? Or will she get caught, red handed with a crucial piece of evidence?
Out of Easy, written by author Ruta Sepetys is a work of historical fiction that will transport readers back in time to 1950s New Orleans.
The writing that fills Sepetys second young adult novel, Out of Easy, is award worthy. Her writing is fluid, it’s lyrical, and above all things it’s descriptive, but not overly so. With mere words Sepetys manages to, not only paint a vivid picture, but she manages to make readers feel as if they are at the center of the story — as if they were actually a part of it it, rather than just a witness to it.
I would’t necessarily consider Out of Easy a fast paced kind of book. And in this instance, that’s perfectly fine. Out of Easy is an even paced read that picks up when the story demands, and slows down to let readers saver it at just the right time.
Aside from the writing, what makes Out of Easy such a great read are the characters. Main character Josie is a real spit-fire. She’s everything readers will look for in a tried and true heroine – she’s smart both book wise and street smart, she’s honest and emotional, but above all things she’s a real hustler.
Besides Josie there is a whole cast of characters that will capture and delight. Of all those colorful characters, the most colorful of them all is Josie’s friend, her protector, and her sometimes mentor: Willie. Willie is a gun toting’ madam who always seems to say just what Josie needs to hear just when she needs to hear them … even if Josie doesn’t want to listen.
Each character plays an important role within the greater story arch. They all work simultaneously together, as a family, to make Out of Easy what it is. It’s that family factor – no matter how dysfunctional it may seem from the outside – that makes this book so real, so honest, and so readable.
I read Out of Easy a while ago, and to this day, I’m still thinking about the story, the characters, the book as a whole. What I’m saying is this: read it, I promise you it will leave a lasting impression.